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AFSPA move no reflection on Army role: Omar

The J-K Chief Minister clarifies on party spokesman Mustafa Kamal’s remark: ‘nothing to do with state govt’s opinion’

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
October 27, 2011 12:26:45 am

In a damage control mode,J-K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said the coalition government’s efforts for revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is “no reflection on the role of Army” in the state.

Omar’s clarification has come after his party spokesman and uncle Mustafa Kamal termed the series of attacks in Kashmir on Sunday as an attempt to stall the revocation of AFSPA and blamed the Army for it.

“The removal of AFSPA is in no way an effort to undermine the role of the Army which essentially is playing a major role in the anti-militancy operations in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the Chief Minister said. “It is nobody’s case to demonise the Army because it has proved time and again that it is a disciplined force.”

On Tuesday,National Conference spokesman Mustafa Kamal accused the Army of carrying out the attacks in Srinagar and south Kashmir to stall revocation of AFSPA. “The Army is against the revocation of AFSPA. They (Army) are afraid of the truth coming to light,” Kamal said.

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“The entire Army is not involved in such violations. It’s the black sheep in the Army who are doing all this. They are doing everything to ensure that these draconian laws stay.”

The Army had reacted strongly to Kamal’s accusation saying his accusations were “not worth commenting” about. “This statement does not even deserve one bit of the Army’s comment,” General Officer Commanding (GoC) 15 Corp,Lt Gen Atta Hasnain said. “It (accusation against Army) is absolutely preposterous.”

However,the Chief Minister on Wednesday himself came forward in a damage control exercise,saying the Army had played a vital role in anti-insurgency operations in the state and that the decision on revocation of AFSPA from certain parts of the state was being taken in consultation with them.

“An impression that has been tried to create that the state government and the Army are working on a divergent path is not correct,” Omar said.

“Even the process of removal of AFSPA from certain areas of J-K is being done in close consultation with the Army and other paramilitary forces. Their inputs and security concerns will be evaluated and considered while removing the footprint of AFSPA from certain parts of the state.”

Omar said his government had a good rapport with the Army and the statement of his party spokesman had “nothing to do with state government’s opinion”.

The Chief Minister,however,reiterated his commitment that the special powers conferred on the armed forces will be revoked from certain peaceful areas of the state and sought the cooperation of people in this regard.

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